MT's week in 60 seconds

This week: recession, depression and Tibetan singing bowl sessions.

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Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

These were the seven days in which it became official. First the Ernst & Young Item Club suggested it, then Mervin King became the first economic policy heavy-hitter to admit it: we're entering a recession. ‘The long march back to boredom and stability starts tonight,' said King. Always good to have something to look forward to.

King is, of course, stating what the majority of us already knew. But there's no harm in holding back on overblown speculation. We've had enough of that. Take the furore over Lehman Brothers' credit default swaps - as the deadline for settling them approached, figures being kicked around for the value of payouts reached $400bn. The debts were settled up this week: total value, $6bn.

Surely there was some good news this week? How about on the high street? Ahem. Retail sales fell by 0.4% in September, according to the Office for National Statistics. Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, announced a first-half loss of £437m. Meanwhile DSG International revealed it was scaling back its spending at Currys by £30m, amid slowing demand. And Sir Philip Green announced that his Arcadia group recorded a 6% drop in profits for the year to September, adding that the recent turmoil in Iceland has meant putting his interest in Baugur's assets on hold.

Life goes on, of course. And there's opportunity out there for those who can spot it. According to Grant Thornton, three-quarters of entrepreneurs are just as or even more ambitious about their business than they were six months ago, despite the threatening economic climate. Mike Ashley is one of the glass half-full brigade. Indeed, he never seemed the type to get unsettled by a spot of fiscal turmoil, and has increased his stake in JJB Sports by 5% - taking his effective stake to 21%.

Those feeling less optimistic may want to take note of Richard Wiseman's new relaxation room, a ‘large-scale multimedia space' that harnesses soft-green lighting, artificial blue skies, a delicate scent of lavender and Tibetan singing bowls. It can supposedly wash away the most stubborn of cares in 15 minutes. But can it undo the effects of constant exposure to Robert Peston's voice? Sure to become omnipresent now that Rory Bremner has started doing impressions of him.

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